A Look Back On 2016

If someone had told me that I would be visiting Disneyland Paris four times, become part of the Disney community and make a bunch of awesome new friends in the space of eight months I would never have believed them. When the opportunity arrose to become an annual pass holder at DLP I decided to document my trips via this blog and create a twitter account to accompany it. I never imagined that there was a huge community dedicated to Disney and I’d be attending meet-ups and interacting with some of the most loveliest people.

I have got my friends Jess, Leanne and Louise to thank for inviting me to join them on their trips. I now regard them as some of my most closest friends and without them this blog and everything that comes with it would not exist. I have experienced many highs and a few lows in my personal life this year but my Disney trips have helped me through this. They have become a form of escapism and something for me to focus on when I didn’t want to think about the negative things that were starting to eat away at me. There have been so many memorable moments and I’m so glad I have been able to share them with you.

I have had so much fun joining in with live chats, watching periscopes (mainly Deandre’s haha!) and vlogs and listening to IMDO Podcast broadcasts which have brightened up many an evening. One of the most memorable times within the Disney community for me has to be when a group of us went to see Aladdin the Musical, it was such an amazing show made even better with good company. I would definitely like to see it again at some point.

2016 will be the year I started Disneybounding, had Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum fight over me, developed a new found love for Stitch and drank imaginary tea with Alice. Special thanks go out to Eleanor and Lizi for hosting the official Disney meet-ups and bringing the Disney community together (without them I wouldn’t have met a lot of you) and Jess for allowing me to be part of the Disneybound UK admin team in which I have had a blast taking over the twitter account and attending events.

I would also like to say a huge thank you to everyone I have been fortunate enough to meet through official and unofficial meet-ups and to those who I haven’t met yet but chat to on twitter. You understand my love for Disney when others don’t. You have all had a part in making my year a spectacular one and I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store, I hope it’s good us all.

DLP Trip Over-View, Christmas 2016 Part 3

Wednesday 30th November – We had planned a shopping trip to Val d’Europe so we had a little lye in before heading to breakfast to make sure we were fully recharged for the day ahead. The shopping centre is apparently the biggest in Europe and with it only being a five-minute journey on the metro, it was an ideal location too. I would suggest going there if you are spending a few days in DLP just to stock up on snacks and drinks in the big supermarket there as its so much cheaper than in the parks. Wish we had known about it sooner to be honest.

When we got back to DLP later in the day, we made a point of going to see Goofy’s Jingle Bell Band. It was a real feel good little show, the band were fantastic. I wished I had been able to see it more than once though but we kept missing the times as we’d had other things planned.

Thursday 1st December – This was a character filled day. We started off with Donald, Goofy and Pluto and the Chipmunks in extra magic hours. Then we met Sandy Claws, Scrooge McDuck, Thumper and Miss Bunny, Marie and the Queen of Hearts and Alice. We went to the Princess Pavillion and met Snow White then met Mickey in his house (something I haven’t done for a few years) before having lunch at Toad Hall (another first for me) where I had a nice veggie burger which tasted quite similar to the one in Cafe Hyperion.

We had a ride on the rail road and hung around on Main Street to secure a good spot for Mickey’s Magical Christmas Lights. Unfortunately there was something wrong with stairs/platform and Mickey and Minnie didn’t come out to turn on the lights. It was disappointing but we didn’t let it bother us too much. We did some shopping and I bought a few Christmas gifts for my family and I struggled to get everything in my suitcase that night. We had come to the sad task of having to pack and thinking about the return to reality.

Friday 2nd December – Our last day at DLP was a relaxed one. We stayed in the Disneyland Park taking some last chance photos, looking in the shops to make sure we hadn’t missed any good deals and going on rides. We fit in a few character meets including another visit to Sandy Claws and Ariel at the Princess Pavillion. While Louise, Leanne and Sue went to Hakuna Matata for Hakuna fries, I popped next door to Fuente Del Oro Restaurante to sample their Mexican food as I’d never been there before. It made a change to the same old veggie burger. We caught the parades and the Princess show for the last time and said goodbye to Leanne and Sue who had to go and catch the Eurostar home. Louise and I then passed the remaining time we had by going on Pirates of the Caribbean multiple times before leaving.

DLP Trip Over-View, Christmas 2016 Part 2

Sunday 27th November – We didn’t get to the park as early but we were in time for rope drop at Frontierland where our first port of call was a visit to Sandy Claws. We had a good old chat about how much I preferred Halloween to Christmas. Once we had moved on we came across Jafar in his usual spot so decided to get some photos with him. He must have got out of the wrong side of the bed because he was a lot more touchy than usual, he certainly didn’t like me stroking Iago, the big baby. That was such a great character interaction though, I loved it.

Apart from Sandy Claws and Jafar, the only other meet we had planned was Ariel at the Princess Pavillion. We grabbed a waffle and hot chocolate at the Windmill which I instantly regretted afterwards when I felt sick… but it was just so good. We watched ‘A Royal Invitation’ multiple times to try to get some good photos of the royal couples as they came off-stage.

As we were walking towards Phantom Manor we met Grace and Sophie again so it would have been rude not to pop in for a group ride. We were able to have a proper chat this time which was lovely and when we came out we bumped into Manuel so took the opportunity to have some group photos taken. Manuel is one of the nicest cast members that you can meet, and I’m sure everyone that I know that has met him would say the same.

Louise and I said goodbye to Jess and Rachel later that day and went for dinner at Plaza Gardens. It was a gratefully received recommendation from Deandre. I really enjoyed the food there and fortunately they were able to fit us in a little bit earlier. It wasn’t very busy either so all in all it was a pleasant experience.

Monday 28th November – We went into central Paris to visit some popular landmarks and get all cultured. Notre Dame Cathedral was amazing (and obviously Disney themed so we had to do it). The Louvre was interesting and we couldn’t believe how small the painting of the Mona Lisa was. We got back to DLP around 4pm where we met Leanne and her mum Sue. The first ride we decided to go on was Pirates of the Caribbean to get our traditional funny pose photo, unfortunately we didn’t get as far as the photo drop. The ride had broken down just before the first drop. Initially I began to panic until they turned all the lights on. I’d always wondered how they would get us off of the ride if they couldn’t get it started again (we’d had a few close calls before) and we were about to find out.

Cast members appeared and tried their best to explain in French and English what they were going to do. One guy got into the water in his waterproofs to push the boats back to the nearest exit and they raised the metal grate beside us so we could step out onto it and into the backstage area which wasn’t very glamorous. From the time we got on the ride to the time we were successfully evacuated it took nearly an hour. When we got out the back there was a fire rescue van sitting there. We found the whole event rather exciting.

Tuesday 29th November – We had a packed day planned and we spent the majority of it in the studio park. I don’t think I’ve ever spent a good amount of time there before. We started off with the studio tram tour which I hadn’t done in a couple of years. Some parts of it I thought could do with a serious update, starting with the cringy video footage they show on the tram which they’ve had since the 90’s. We went to see Stitch Live for the first time and laughed so much. It’s so cleverly done and its brilliant entertainment for both adults and children.

We queued for Moana, the second time meeting her this trip. It was someone different playing her and we had even better interactions this time around. I love the fact that not every character experience is the same. After moana’s meet we went (for the second time) to pay mice royalty Mickey and Minnie a visit then found Pluto.

Mickey and the Magician was next on the agenda and it was even better than when I first saw it. Probably because when I first saw it I was suffering from sleep deprivation and I had just had my head bashed about on Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster. By the time we had done everything we wanted to do it was time for dinner at Bistro Chez Remy (booked in advance). I was very impressed with both the service and the food there. I don’t think I could actually fault it. The vegetarian dish was tasty and we were given a free fruit drink when we showed our annual passes. The theming was amazing too. I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone but I would suggest you book in advance as it’s very popular.

DLP Trip Over-View, Christmas 2016 Part 1

When booking an eight-day trip to Disneyland Paris for the Christmas season, myself and Louise jumped into it with a ‘let’s just do it’ attitude regardless of whether we would be able to afford it or not. When we found out that Jess and Rachel were planning to be there from the Friday to the Sunday and then Leanne and her mum were staying from the Monday to the Friday, we decided to book from Friday to Friday so that we could spend time with everyone.

Eight days is the longest I’ve ever stayed at DLP for. Luckily we were able to budget it all quite well and even had some money left over at the end (which I plan to use during our next trip). Our chosen mode of transport for this trip was Ouibus which I found considerably more comfortable than the megabus, well as comfortable as it could be I guess (I still had lack of sleep). Instead of crossing on the ferry, we went via the Euro tunnel so we were able to stay on the coach and attempt to sleep. It’s cheap and I don’t think I would have been able to do as many DLP trips this year as I have done if I had to pay out Eurostar prices each time.

Due of the length of time I had spent there, this time I won’t be doing individual trip reports and will be doing it in parts with a few days in each post. Some days may be more detailed than others.

Friday 25th November – We arrived at DLP around 8am after getting the metro from the coach station in Paris. This gave us enough time to get changed, store our luggage and wander around the Disneyland hotel lobby to admire the gingerbread house (which surprisingly was made out of real gingerbread) and decorations before heading to Cafe Mickey for breakfast. This was a first for me. I thought that it was a great place for character dining but the food was standard and the queues can get quite long making it hard to work your way around and sit down without your food getting cold in the process. I don’t know about lunch and dinner but they’ll definitely have to up their food game if they are getting rid of the characters next year. We met Chip and Dale, Eeyore, Mickey, Goofy and Pluto all while I was Disneybounding as Mickey and Louise as Minnie.

Jess and Rachel wasn’t joining us until the evening so myself and Louise watched the Christmas Parade, met Baloo, Alice and the White Rabbit and Scrooge McDuck, went on some rides and browsed the shops before making our way over to Hotel Cheyenne for a pin trading event. I didn’t quite know what I was expecting to see but it was so big we didn’t know where to start, so we had a quick look around before making a swift exit. We felt a little bit out-of-place, it was obviously  for hard-core traders and as a newbie collector I was very overwhelmed. We walked back to the Disney Village wondering what had just happened and shared our experiences with Jess and Rachel when we met them at Earl of Sandwich for dinner.

Saturday 26th November – A comfortable night was had by all at the Kyriad hotel and a decent breakfast was consumed before catching the shuttle bus to the park for the last part of Extra Magic Hours. We met Donald, Goofy and Pluto and the Chipmunks in that time. As we walked towards Small World we bumped into Pearla and Suzy (the mice from cinderella) doing a random  meet. This made me so happy as I’d never met them before.

We strolled over to the Walt Disney Studio park and went straight into Art of Disney Animation to wait for the Moana (named Vaiana in France) meet to begin. We were there a good 45 minutes before she was due to appear to secure a good spot in the queue. While waiting she came out to take part in a special event and was happy to pose for a few photos by herself. As soon as we had finished we went to meet Mickey and Minnie in their Christmas gear. They looked adorable. I love meeting them in different outfits.

Back over at the Disneyland Park we bumped into Grace , Sophie and Samar while waiting for Disney Princesses: A Royal Invitation. It’s always nice to see familiar faces. Unfortunately Sam had to rush off but we were able to have a quick catch up with Grace and Sophie before going our separate ways. The Princess show itself was pleasant if not a little cheesy but it was a nice addition and I bet it went down well with the children. I had my eyes on Belle and Beast in human form most of the time being my favourite couple.

Season’s Greetings

After many hours spent Christmas shopping, card writing, wrapping presents and waiting in queues at the post office things are finally starting to quieten down and I can now wish you all a very Merry Christmas. Hit me with everything you’ve got Christmas because I’m ready. My tree is finally decorated and presents have been placed underneath. Arrangements for Christmas day are sorted so all I have to do now is work my final work week of the year.

I am looking forward to a week long break to spend time with my family and to chill out, watch films, eat a ton of chocolate, blog and catch up on everyone’s vlogs that I haven’t had time to watch lately. So far it doesn’t look like I’ll be leaving the house that much between Christmas and the new year.

I have a few blog posts planned before 2017 hits us. I especially want to get my Christmas DLP trip overview out of the way before I start planning anything else. I have also got a few ideas up my sleeve that I want to share with you eventually so stay tuned for that but in the mean time I hope that wherever you are or however you celebrate, you have an amazing time because you are all fabulous.

Disneybound UK Christmas Meet-up

After a successful summer meet-up, a few people were eager to know when the next one would be. We figured that a winter meet would be good but we would have to find an indoor venue. Jess then suggested a meal at the O2 which was perfect so arrangements were made. To get into the festive spirit we also decided to ask everyone to take part in Secret Santa, just for a bit of fun.

19th November 2016

There were eleven of us in total and one latecomer. Four of us were Disneybound UK admin going with ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ theme. Louise was Lock, Jess was Shock, Leanne was Barrel and I was the Corpes Kid. The smaller group meant that we were able to get to know people better.

We all met for the reservation that we had made at the Harvester and everyone had made a fantastic effort with their Disneybounds. Jessica and Scott created their own dark twist on the characters Elsa and Woody. Annie was Princess Sofia the first, Becky was Anna, Kate was Rafiki, Natalie was Eleanor of Avalor and Charlotte was Berlioz from ‘The Aristocats’.

During our meal we all put our secret santa presents into a big bag. Conversations were flowing and we all enjoyed our meals. We were delighted with the Disney related presents that we picked out at the end of the meal. I recieved a couple of books about the beast and the evil queen by Serena Valentino.

I had such a lovely time with everyone and can’t wait for our next meet-up which will probably be taking place in the Spring. That’s something else to look forward to in 2017. It’s shaping up to be a good year.

DLP Trip Report – October 2016, Day 4

After having a much needed decent nights sleep I was feeling so much better. I couldn’t believe that I had spent my last night feeling so sick, I was more concerned that poor Leanne had to put up with me like that. These things happen I suppose and I wanted to make up for it on our final morning. Breakfast was just what I needed after not being able to eat much the night before. I had hash browns, beans, omlet, mushrooms and a croissant washed down with a glass of orange juice.

After we had finished breakfast we went to have a look at the mini farm that the hotel has on the premises. Being trained in animal management myself I often worry about the conditions in which animals are kept but I could see that they were well cared for with clean, spacious enclosures and plenty of food. There were rabbits, Guinea pigs, a donkey, goats, a Shetland Pony, Alpacas and sheep.

Once we’d said goodbye to the animals (yes, I talk to any kind of animal as if they are human including fish) we had to collect our suitcases and make our way to the park on the shuttle-bus. We had planned to take some last minute photos of the Halloween decorations. We were able to see all the little details that we hadn’t noticed previously as we took our time. They really do go all out for the Halloween season adding ghostly sound effects to accompany the ghouls that were distributed down Main Street.

We queued for Stitch about half an hour in advance of him arriving, there were only a few people in front of us so we weren’t waiting too long once it got started at 10am. Stitch was a real pleasure to watch, his mischievous ways had me laughing at everyone’s meet with him. In fact after that meet I had discovered a new found love for Stitch. We moved directly on to Marie who we waited quite a while for. This didn’t bother us in the slightest as we hadn’t had anything planned for afterwards. Both Stitch and Marie were new meets for me. I love meeting new characters. Marie was just adorable.

We went for a wander through Adventure Land where we discovered King Louie was meeting and the queue was almost non-existant. We grabbed our oportunity as I had never met him before. I was chuffed that in a short space of time I had managed to meet three new characters. The big kid in me was squealing inside with excitement. Oh the little things!

There were only two things left to do. One was lunch and the other was shopping. We stopped off at Market House Deli for food. I hadn’t eaten there before but a couple of days previous I had popped in to get a takeaway hot chocolate and noticed that they did a lovely looking Brioche so I was dying to go back and try it. I also picked up a cute Halloween cupcake which caught my eye while I was queuing to pay. Unfortunately the queue/service was quite slow so by the time I had paid, my Brioche was practically cold. However I still enjoyed it but I think it would have been nicer hot. Some last minute shopping was had before heading to the station to catch the Eurostar. I think I managed to buy a few pins which I normally do on every trip.

This was yet another memorable trip. Halloween season has got to be my favourite so far despite not experiencing Spring properly yet (which I have heard all sorts of good things about).